So Josh and I have been on a little journey the last few months. Some of you know about it, some didn’t. But it started back in January when we noticed a small bump by Josh's shoulder. As someone who likes to self-diagnose, I told him it was probably just a muscle knot and not to worry about it. So he didn't and I didn't. Towards the beginning of February it started to hurt a little. We tried heat and cold packs and massaged it (dear lawd I was massaging it?!) but it changed very little. So I started bugging him to go get it checked out. He finally went to a general doctor. This doctor was alarmed...very alarmed and started throwing out the word cancer. Cancer? Are you bonkers man? I was personally insulted if I am honest with you guys. We eat clean, stay away from any chemicals in our products we use, we have filters for our drinking water and shower, we detox, we juice, we drink funky teas and we take tons of vitamins....how on earth could you even be uttering the words cancer doc!!? Not to mention Josh was 29!!! Have you lost your marbles man?
From there is was a whirlwind of tests, scans, biopsies, doctors visits and tons, and tons of praying. On February 24, Josh's 30th birthday, while we were celebrating with his family in Kansas, he got the call. The biopsy showed the lymph swelling was cancer. He had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My head went dizzy. I felt sick to my stomach. I looked at Lucia playing obliviously and wanted to scream. I felt the devil right in my face laughing. I briefly saw the future I had planned for us spin in another direction. I was rattled. I began to sob. God...what on earth? I ran out of the room and tried to get myself together and I called my dad.
Between sobs I told him what the doctor said. Now my dad is the type of person you want to call when something like this happens. He is rational, level headed, not emotional and trusts God for big things. He said to me firmly...Lisa...Stop crying. Someone has come into your house and attacked your family...are you going to just stand there and cry or are you going to fight? This would change the way we looked at this trial.
He was right. This was a specific and personal attack on our family and we were not going to just take it lying down. He told us to decide in our minds that day that God was going to heal Josh of this cancer, that it must go, and we would not settle for anything less than complete and total healing.
James 1:5-8 says... “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
So that was it. Our minds were made up. We wouldn't doubt that God was able to put cancer in its place, that He's got this and we would not be afraid...and we weren't. We prayed...oh man did I pray. Face to the floor, hands to the sky, I plead my case before the Lord and I laid Josh down at his feet. There is a verse in Matthew 15 where it is talking about a time during Jesus's ministry. It says “A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn't speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all.” Everyone laid at the feet of Jesus was healed. All of them. Not some...all of them. So that is what we prayed. We laid the problem at His feet. We laid Josh at His feet. See friends, as Christians we believe our battles are best fought in prayer. We had no control over whether or not these drugs would work, but we did know the God who was in control of it. We had no control over the attack that was on his life, but we did know the God who did. That was our best defense.
In the physical we sprung into action, putting Josh on a few alternative cancer protocols while we waited to see doctors. I made three appointments, with three different oncologists, all who gave us three different ways to treat the disease. My unsolicited advice...if you are ever faced with something like this...get many opinions. Our first oncologists wanted to radiate Josh and the one we ended up going with said that was craziness... they would never radiate someone this young with such a low-grade cancer. It makes a big difference.
During this time, Josh got extremely healthy. His inflammation numbers dropped dramatically, he lost tons of weight and felt amazing. Being honest, I was against chemotherapy the entire time. I believe that if we gave Josh's body enough time on the natural protocols his body would heal itself. It was beginning to the two months prior to treatment. But unlike many cancers, where chemotherapy is more of a risk than cure, Hodgkin's has a different outcome. With low-dose chemotherapy, Hodgkin's has a 90 percent cure rate. Four months of it for Josh's case and the doctors said we would be done. Not a bad outlook. So we prayed about it and decided we would do both. Continue the natural treatments and couple them with the chemotherapy. Then after the treatments,detox his body like crazy and continue to attack what we, and our natural oncologist believe was the route cause of the cancer in the first place.
Chemo is scary though. I had this picture in my head of what it was like. After watching series' like The Truth About Cancer and reading site after site like Chrisbeatscancer.com, I had this view that chemotherapy would render him useless to the world around him. He would be frail and sick and bald. Life as we know it would radically change. Well, let me tell you friends it was the complete opposite for us. The side effects that I read about and heard from others who have gone through this particular treatment...well none of them happened. The mouth sores, the finger nails falling off, the extreme debilitating fatigue, the breathing complications, the bone pain and numbness of limbs...none of it. Aside from three days post-chemo fatigue and nausea, Josh was spared it all. I will proudly brag...he has only missed one day of work...ONE day...and that day I forced him to stay home. Even his chemo nurses comment in disbelief of how well he is handling the treatment.
Our friends and family have been amazing. They have sent baskets, cards and given us gifts of encouragement. They babysat Lucia for doctors appointments and my mother has constantly taken off work to come down and stay with us the days after chemo. But friends, the thing that helped the most...the thing that made all the difference, was the prayers. I will take your well wishes and your good thoughts, but what I really want is your prayers...because that...that moves mountains.
We felt the prayers of Gods people. Josh was covered. Our church, family and friends fasted with us, set their alarms and prayed the moment he was getting infusions, spoke verses over our lives and laid hands on us. No one will ever convince me that didn't make all the difference. It made ALL the difference.
On top of fervent prayer we sought wisdom on what supplements, teas and food to help offset and detox his body from the harsh chemicals of chemotherapy. We saw a natural oncologist who helped with this too. (If any of you would like more information on the research I have done and the supplements I have Josh on...please let me know!)
There were days I would lay awake at night and fear would creep in...what if this didn't work? What are we going to do? That was when I would hold on to God's promises. A big one was my growing belly. That was MY promise God gave to me. And one thing I know is my God is faithful. A verse I held onto through this trial is Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful” He promised that he would add to my family and nothing would be taken from it...and that is exactly what happened.
Josh still has three treatments left because the doctors want to make sure there are not any lingering cells. So he will finish mid to late July. They say he is in remission but I say he is healed already!
We were joking with friends this week about how Josh's birthdays from here on out could never be worse than his 30th. But we believe we will look back on that birthday as the best birthday ever. Every birthday that comes and goes from now on will serve as a reminder of who God is to us and of how he took this and turned it around for our good. Every year that Josh lives, and ages, and gets older will be a testament of how great our God is.
Thank you for your prayers friends. Keep them coming.
Here is the link to Josh's video about his journey. I encourage you to watch it. Click on the picture to link to the video. Love you guys.
Hello friends! I am Lisa. Lover of Christ and family, a former television reporter, a wife and mom who strives to live a healthy, toxic free lifestyle.